Argentina

ARGENTINA

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Argentina Wikipedia



For other uses, see Argentina (disambiguation).
Argentine Republic[A]
República Argentina  (Spanish)
FlagCoat of arms
Motto: "En unión y libertad"  (Spanish)


"In Unity and Freedom"
Anthem: Himno Nacional Argentino  (Spanish)


Argentine National Anthem


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Mainland Argentina shown in dark green, with territorial claims shown in light green
Mainland Argentina shown in dark green, with territorial claims shown in light green
Capital


and largest city
Buenos Aires


34°36′S 58°23′W / 34.600°S 58.383°W / -34.600; -58.383
Official languagesSpanish[a]
Demonym
  • Argentine
  • Argentinian
  • Argentinean (uncommon)
GovernmentFederal presidential constitutional republic
 - PresidentCristina Fernández de Kirchner
 - Vice PresidentAmado Boudou
 - Supreme Court PresidentRicardo Lorenzetti
LegislatureCongress
 - Upper houseSenate
 - Lower houseChamber of Deputies
Independence from Spain
 - May Revolution25 May 1810 
 - Declared9 July 1816 
 - Current constitution1 May 1853 
Area
 - Total2,780,400 km2[B] (8th)


1,073,518 sq mi
 - Water (%)1.57
Population
 - 2013 estimate41,660,417
 - 2010 census40,117,096 (32nd)
 - Density14.4/km2 (212th)


37.3/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2014 estimate
 - Total$793.779 billion (22nd)
 - Per capita$18,917 (56th)
GDP (nominal)2014 estimate
 - Total$404.483 billion (29th)
 - Per capita$9,640 (69th)
Gini (2010)positive decrease 44.49


medium
HDI (2013)Increase 0.811


very high · 45th
CurrencyPeso ($) (ARS)
Time zoneART (UTC−3)
Date formatdd.mm.yyyy (CE)
Drives on theright[b]
Calling code+54
ISO 3166 codeAR
Internet TLD.ar
a.^ De facto at all government levels.[C] In addition, some provinces have official de jure languages:

 · Guaraní in Corrientes Province.
 · Kom, Moqoit and Wichi, in Chaco Province.

b.^ Trains ride on left.
Argentina Listeni/ˌɑrdʒənˈtiːnə/, officially the Argentine Republic[A] (Spanish: República Argentina [reˈpuβlika aɾxenˈtina]) is a federal republic located in southeastern South America. Covering most of the Southern Cone, it is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north; Brazil to the northeast; Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east; Chile to the west and the Drake Passage to the south.

With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi),[B] Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world and the second largest in Latin America. Argentina's population of over 41 million citizens (2013 estimate) constitutes the world's fourth largest Spanish-speaking nation. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

A historical and current middle power and a prominent Latin American and Southern Cone regional power, Argentina is one of the G-15 and G-20 major economies and Latin America's third-largest. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, WBG, WTO, Mercosur, UNASUR, CELAC and OEI. Because of its stability, market size and increasing share of the high-tech sector, Argentina is classed by investors as a middle emerging economy with a "very high" rating on the Human Development Index.

The earliest recorded human presence in the area now known as Argentina is dated from the Paleolithic period. The Spanish colonization began in 1512. Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish overseas colony founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, which ended with the country's reorganization as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city. From then on—while massive European immigration waves radically reshaped its cultural and demographic outlook—Argentina enjoyed an historically almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity: by the early 20th century it already ranked as the seventh wealthiest developed nation in the world. After 1930, however, and despite remaining among the fifteen richest countries until mid-century, it descended into political instability and suffered periodic economic crisis that sank it back into underdevelopment.

Contents

              Name and etymology

              The name "Argentina" is derived from Latin argentum ("silver", plata in Spanish), a noun associated with the silver mountains legend, widespread among the first European explorers of the La Plata Basin.

              The first written use of the name can be traced to La Argentina,[D] a 1602 poem by Martín del Barco Centenera describing the region and the foundation of Buenos Aires. Although "Argentina" was already in common usage by the 18th century, the country was formally named "Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata" by the Spanish Empire, and "United Provinces of the Río de la Plata" after independence.

              The 1826 constitution included the first use of the name "Argentine Republic" in legal documents. The name "Argentine Confederation" was also commonly used and was formalized in the Argentine Constitution of 1853. In 1860 a presidential decree settled the country's name as "Argentine Republic", and that year's constitutional amendment ruled all the names since 1810 as legally valid.[E]

              In the English language, the country was traditionally called "the Argentine", mimicking the typical Spanish usage la Argentina. This fell out of fashion during the mid to late 20th century, and now the country is simply referred to as "Argentina".

              History

              Main article: History of Argentina

              Pre-Columbian era

              Main article: Indigenous peoples in Argentina
              Stencilled hands on the cave's wall


              The Cave of the Hands in Santa Cruz, with indigenous artwork dating from 13,000–9,000 years ago.
              The earliest traces of human life in the area now known as Argentina are dated from the Paleolithic period, with further traces in the Mesolithic and Neolithic. Until the period of European colonization Argentina was relatively sparsely populated by a wide number of diverse cultures with different social organizations, which can be divided into three main groups:
              • Basic hunters and food gatherers without development of pottery, like the Selknam and Yaghan in the extreme south.
              • Advanced hunters and food gatherers like the Puelche, Querandí and Serranos in the center-east; and the Tehuelche in the south—all of them conquered by the Mapuche spreading from Chile—and the Kom and Wichi in the north.
              • Farmers with pottery, like the Charrúa, Minuane and Guaraní in the northeast, with slash and burn semisedentary existence; the advanced Diaguita sedentary trading culture in the northwest, which was conquered by the Inca Empire around 1480; the Toconoté and Hênîa and Kâmîare in the country's center, and the Huarpe in the center-west, a culture that raised llamas cattle and was strongly influenced by the Incas.

              Spanish colonial era

              Main article: Colonial Argentina



              Territorial divisions of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata.
              Europeans first arrived in the region with the 1502 voyage of Amerigo Vespucci. The Spanish navigators Juan Díaz de Solís and Sebastian Cabot visited the territory that is now Argentina in 1516 and 1526, respectively. In 1536 Pedro de Mendoza founded the small settlement of Buenos Aires, which was abandoned in 1541.

              Further colonization efforts came from Paraguay—establishing the Governorate of the Río de la Plata—Peru and Chile. Francisco de Aguirre founded Santiago del Estero in 1553. Londres was founded in 1558; Mendoza, in 1561; San Juan, in 1562; San Miguel de Tucumán, in 1565. Juan de Garay founded Santa Fe in 1573 and the same year Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera set up Córdoba. Garay went further south to re-fund Buenos Aires in 1580. San Luis was established in 1596.

              The Spanish Empire subordinated the economic potential of the Argentine territory to the immediate wealth of the silver and gold mines in Bolivia and Peru, and as such it became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until the creation of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776 with Buenos Aires as its capital.

              Buenos Aires repelled two ill-fated British invasions in 1806 and 1807. The ideas of the Age of Enlightenment and the example of the first Atlantic Revolutions generated criticism to the absolutist monarchy that ruled the country. Like in the rest of Spanish America, the overthrow of Ferdinand VII during the Peninsular War created great concern.

              Independence and civil wars

              Main articles: May Revolution, Argentine War of Independence and Argentine Civil Wars
              Painting of San Martín holding the Argentine flag


              Portrait of General José de San Martin, Libertador of Argentina, Chile and Peru.
              Beginning a process from which Argentina was to emerge as successor state to the Viceroyalty, the 1810 May Revolution replaced the viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros with the First Junta, a new government in Buenos Aires composed by locals. In the first clashes of the Independence War the Junta crushed a royalist counter-revolution in Córdoba, but failed to overcome those of the Banda Oriental, Upper Peru and Paraguay, which later became independent states.

              Revolutionaries split into two antagonist groups: the Centralists and the Federalists—a move that would define Argentina's first decades of independence. The Assembly of the Year XIII appointed Gervasio Antonio de Posadas as Argentina's first Supreme Director.

              In 1816 the Congress of Tucumán formalized the Declaration of Independence. One year later General Martín Miguel de Güemes stopped royalists on the North, and General José de San Martín took an army across the Andes and secured the independence of Chile; then he led the fight to the Spanish stronghold of Lima and proclaimed the independence of Peru.[F] In 1819 Buenos Aires enacted a centralist constitution that was soon abrogated by federalists.

              The 1820 Battle of Cepeda, fought between the Centralists and the Federalists, resulted in the end of the Supreme Director rule. In 1826 Buenos Aires enacted another centralist constitution, with Bernardino Rivadavia being appointed as the first president of the country. However, the interior provinces soon rose against him, forced his resignation and discarded the constitution. Centralists and Federalists resumed the civil war; the latter prevailed and formed the Argentine Confederation in 1831, led by Juan Manuel de Rosas. During his regime he faced a French blockade (1838–1840), the War of the Confederation (1836–1839), and a combined Anglo-French blockade (1845–1850), but remained undefeated and prevented further loss of national territory. His trade restriction policies, however, angered the interior provinces and in 1852 Justo José de Urquiza, another powerful caudillo, beat him out of power. As new president of the Confederation, Urquiza enacted the liberal and federal 1853 Constitution. Buenos Aires seceded but was forced back into the Confederation after being defeated in the 1859 Battle of Cepeda.

              Rise of the Modern Nation

              Main articles: Historical Presidencies and Generation of '80



              President Julio Argentino Roca giving his constitutionally-mandated annual report to Congress, 1886.
              Overpowering Urquiza in the 1861 Battle of Pavón, Bartolomé Mitre secured Buenos Aires predominance and was elected as the first president of the reunified country. He was followed by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and Nicolás Avellaneda; these three presidencies set up the bases of the modern Argentine State.

              Starting with Julio Argentino Roca in 1880, ten consecutive federal governments emphasized liberal economic policies. The massive wave of European immigration they promoted—second only to the United States'—led to a near-reinvention of Argentine society and economy that by 1908 had placed the country as the seventh wealthiest developed nation in the world. Driven by this immigration wave and decreasing mortality, the Argentine population grew fivefold and the economy 15-fold: from 1870 to 1910 Argentina's wheat exports went from 100,000 to 2,500,000 t (110,000 to 2,760,000 short tons) per year, while frozen beef exports increased from 25,000 to 365,000 t (28,000 to 402,000 short tons) per year, placing Argentina as one of the world's top five exporters. Its railway mileage rose from 503 to 31,104 km (313 to 19,327 mi). Fostered by a new public, compulsory, free and secular education system, literacy skyrocketed from 22% to 65%, a level higher than most Latin American nations would reach even fifty years later. Furthermore, real GDP grew so fast that despite the huge immigration flux, per capita income between 1862 to 1920 went from 67% of developed country levels to 100%:
              • By 1865 Argentina was already one of the top 25 nations by per capita income.
              • By 1901 it had raised to the 10th place ahead of Germany, Austria and France.
              • By 1908 it had surpassed Denmark, Canada and The Netherlands to reach the 7th place behind Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, United States, Great Britain and Belgium. Argentina's per capita income was 70% higher than Italy's, 90% higher than Spain's, 180% higher than Japan's and 400% higher than Brazil's.


              Despite these unique achievements, the country was slow to meet its original goals of industrialization: after steep development of capital-intensive local industries in the 1920s, a significant part of the manufacture sector remained labor-intensive in the 1930s.

              In 1912, president Roque Sáenz Peña enacted universal and secret male suffrage, which allowed Hipólito Yrigoyen, leader of the Radical Civic Union (or UCR), to win the 1916 election. He enacted social and economic reforms and extended assistance to family farmers and small businesses. Argentina stayed neutral during World War I. The second administration of Yrigoyen faced an economic crisis, influenced by the Great Depression.

              The Infamous Decade

              Main articles: Infamous Decade and Argentina in World War II
              In 1930 Yrigoyen was ousted from power by the military led by José Félix Uriburu. Although Argentina remained among the fifteen richest countries until mid-century, this coup d'état marks the start of the steady economic and social decline that pushed the country back into underdevelopment.

              Uriburu ruled for two years; then Agustín Pedro Justo was elected with fraud, and signed a controversial treaty with the United Kingdom. Argentina stayed neutral during World War II, a decision that had full British support but was rejected by the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor. A new military coup rose to government, and Argentina declared war to the Axis Powers a month before the end of World War II in Europe. The minister of welfare, Juan Domingo Perón, was fired and jailed because of his high popularity among workers. His liberation was forced by a massive popular demonstration, and he went to win the 1946 election.

              Peronism

              Main article: Peronism



              Official presidential portrait of Juan Domingo Perón and his wife Eva Perón, 1948.
              Perón created a political movement known as Peronism. He nationalized strategic industries and services, improved wages and working conditions, paid the full external debt and achieved nearly full employment. The economy, however, began to decline in 1950 because of over-expenditure. His highly popular wife, Eva Perón, played a central political role. She pushed Congress to enact women suffrage in 1947, and developed an unprecedented social assistance to the most vulnerable sectors of society. However, her declining health did not allow her to run for the vice-presidency in 1951, and she died of cancer the following year. Perón was reelected in 1951, even surpassing his 1946 performance. In 1955 the Navy bombed the Plaza de Mayo in an ill-fated attempt to kill the president. A few months later, during the self-called Liberating Revolution coup, he resigned and went into exile in Spain.

              The new head of State, Pedro Eugenio Aramburu, proscribed Peronism and banned all of its manifestations; nevertheless, Peronists kept organized underground. Arturo Frondizi from the UCR won the following elections. He encouraged investment to achieve energetic and industrial self-sufficiency, reversed a chronic trade deficit and lifted Peronism proscription; yet his efforts to stay in good terms with Peronists and the military earned him the rejection of both and a new coup forced him out. But Senate president José María Guido reacted swiftly and applied the anti-power vacuum legislation, becoming president instead; elections were repealed and Peronism proscribed again. Arturo Illia was elected in 1963 and led to an overall increase in prosperity; however his attempts to legalize Peronism resulted in his overthrow in 1966 by the Juan Carlos Onganía-led Argentine Revolution, a new military government that sought to rule indefinitely.

              Dirty War

              Main article: Dirty War



              Second Resistance March opposing the National Reorganization Process, December 1982.
              Onganía shut down Congress, banned all political parties and dismantled student and worker unions. In 1969, popular discontent led to two massive protests: the Cordobazo and the Rosariazo. The terrorist guerrilla organization Montoneros kidnapped and executed Aramburu. The newly chosen head of government, Alejandro Agustín Lanusse, seeking to ease the growing political pressure, let Héctor José Cámpora be the Peronist candidate instead of Perón. Cámpora won the March 1973 election, issued a pardon for condemned guerrilla members and then secured Perón's return from his exile in Spain.

              On the day Perón returned to Argentina, the clash between Peronist internal factions—right-wing union leaders and left-wing youth from Montoneros—resulted in the Ezeiza Massacre. Cámpora resigned, overwhelmed by political violence, and Perón won the September 1973 election with his third wife Isabel as vice-president. He expelled Montoneros from the party and they became once again a clandestine organization. José López Rega organized the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (AAA) to fight against them and the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP). Perón died in July 1974 and was succeeded by his wife, who signed a secret decree empowering the military and the police to "annihilate" the left-wing subversion, stopping ERP's attempt to start a rural insurgence in Tucumán Province. Isabel Perón was ousted one year later by Jorge Rafael Videla, initiating the National Reorganization Process, often shortened as Proceso.

              The Proceso shut down Congress, removed the judges of the Supreme Court, banned political parties and unions, and resorted to the forced disappearance of suspected guerrilla members and of anyone believed to be associated with the left-wing. By the end of 1976 Montoneros had lost near 2000 members; by 1977, the ERP was completely defeated. A severely weakened Montoneros launched a counterattack in 1979, which was quickly annihilated, ending the guerrilla threat; nevertheless the Junta stayed in government. Then head of State Leopoldo Galtieri launched Operation Rosario, which escalated into the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de Malvinas); within two months Argentina was defeated by the United Kingdom. Reynaldo Bignone replaced Galtieri and began to organize the transition to democratic rule.

              Contemporary era

              Main articles: Argentine economic crisis (1999–2002) and Kirchnerism



              Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina since 2007.
              Raúl Alfonsín won the 1983 elections campaigning for the prosecution of those responsible for human rights violations during the Proceso: the Trial of the Juntas and other martial courts sentenced all the coup's leaders but, under military pressure, he also enacted the Full Stop and Due Obedience laws, which halted prosecutions further down the chain of command. The worsening economic crisis and hyperinflation reduced his popular support and the Peronist Carlos Menem won the 1989 election. Soon after, riots forced Alfonsín to an early resignation.

              Menem embraced neoliberal policies: a fixed exchange rate, business deregulation, privatizations and dismantling of protectionist barriers normalized the economy for a while. He pardoned the officers who had been sentenced during Alfonsín's government. The 1994 Constitutional Amendment allowed Menem to be elected for a second term. The economy began to decline in 1995, with increasing unemployment and recession; led by Fernando de la Rúa, the UCR returned to the presidency in the 1999 elections.

              De la Rúa kept Menem's economic plan despite the worsening crisis, which led to growing social discontent. A massive capital flight was responded to with a freezing of bank accounts, generating further turmoil. The December 2001 riots forced him to resign. Congress appointed Eduardo Duhalde as acting president, who abrogated the fixed exchange rate established by Menem. By the late 2002 the economic crisis began to recess, but the assassination of two piqueteros by the police caused political commotion, prompting Duhalde to move elections forward. Néstor Kirchner was elected as the new president.

              Boosting the neo-keynesian economic policies laid by Duhalde, Kirchner ended the economic crisis attaining significant fiscal and trade surpluses, and steep GDP growth. Under his administration Argentina restructured its defaulted debt with an unprecedented discount of about 70% on most bonds, paid off debts with the International Monetary Fund, purged the military of officers with doubtful human rights records, nullified and voided the Full Stop and Due Obedience laws,[G] ruled them as unconstitutional, and resumed legal prosecution of the Juntas' crimes. He did not run for reelection, promoting instead the candidacy of his wife, senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who was elected in 2007 and reelected in 2011.

              Geography

              Main article: Geography of Argentina
              With a mainland surface area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,518 sq mi),[B] Argentina is located in southern South America, sharing land borders with Chile across the Andes to the west; Bolivia and Paraguay to the north; Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east; and the Drake Passage to the south; for an overall land border length of 9,376 km (5,826 mi). Its coastal border over the Río de la Plata and South Atlantic Ocean is 5,117 km (3,180 mi) long.

              Argentina's highest point is Mount Aconcagua in the Mendoza province (6,959 m (22,831 ft) above sea level), also the highest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres. The lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in the San Julián Great Depression, Santa Cruz province (−105 m (−344 ft) below sea level, also the lowest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres, and the seventh lowest point on Earth)

              The northernmost point is at the confluence of the Grande de San Juan and Mojinete rivers in Jujuy province; the southernmost is Cape San Pío in Tierra del Fuego province; the easternmost is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, Misiones and the westernmost is within Los Glaciares National Park in Santa Cruz province. The maximum north–south distance is 3,694 km (2,295 mi), while the maximum east–west one is 1,423 km (884 mi).

              Some of the major rivers are the Paraná, Uruguay (which join to form the Río de la Plata), Paraguay, Salado, Negro, Santa Cruz, Pilcomayo, Bermejo and Colorado. These rivers are discharged into the Argentine Sea, the shallow area of the Atlantic Ocean over the Argentine Shelf, an unusually wide continental platform. Its waters are influenced by two major ocean currents: the warm Brazil Current and the cold Falklands Current.

              Regions

              Argentina is divided into seven geographical regions:[H]
              • Northwest, a continuation of the high Puna with even higher, more rugged topography to the far-west; the arid precordillera, filled with narrow valleys or quebradas to the mid-west; and an extension of the mountainous Yungas jungles to the east.
              • Mesopotamia, a subtropical wedge covering the western Paraná Plateau and neighbouring lowlands enclosed by the Paraná and Uruguay rivers.
              • Gran Chaco, a large, subtropical and tropical low-lying, gently sloping alluvial plain between Mesopotamia and the Andes.
              • Sierras Pampeanas, a series of medium-height mountain chains located in the center.
              • Cuyo, a basin and range area in the central Andes piedmont, to the west.
              • Pampas, a massive and hugely fertile alluvial plain located in the center east.
              • Patagonia, a large southern plateau consisting mostly of arid, rocky steppes to the east, moister cold grasslands to the south and dense subantarctic forests to the west.












              Top: Pampas, Sierras Pampeanas, Mesopotamia, Gran Chaco, Cuyo


              Bottom: Northwest Puna, Northwest Yungas, Northwest Valleys, western Patagonia, eastern Patagonia.

              Climate

              Main article: Climate of Argentina
              Photograph of tourist boats near the falls
              Photograph of a tourist yatch near a glacier wall
              Tropical climate in Mesopotamia and subpolar in Western Patagonia
              Although the most populated areas are generally temperate, Argentina has an exceptional climate diversity, ranging from tropical in the north to subpolar in the far continental south. Climate patterns roughly follow the geographic regional division:[H]
              • The Northwest climate is varied, with rainfall diminishing north to south and east to west: Puna, to the high Andean west, is dry and with great temperature fluctuation but cold overall, frequently falling below freezing point at night; Yungas, to the east, are tropical, very hot and moisty.
              • Mesopotamia is subtropical overall, with hot and very humid tropical climate in the north, and gradually becoming temperate and semi-humid to the south.
              • Gran Chaco has very hot subtropical to tropical climate, and humid summers with mild drier winters. With heavy seasonal rainfalls, it is subject to periodic droughts.
              • Cuyo is generally mild, although mountainous areas have alpine climate with temperatures below freezing much of the year.
              • Pampas and Sierras Pampeanas are temperate, with hot, stormy summers and cool winters; moisture is higher in the east.
              • Patagonia is very windy, with mild summers and cold to very cold winters with heavy snowfall and frost, especially in mountainous zones. Precipitation steeply diminishes from west to east.


              Major wind currents include the cool Pampero Winds blowing on the flat plains of Patagonia and the Pampas; following the cold front, warm currents blow from the north in middle and late winter, creating mild conditions. The Sudestada usually moderates cold temperatures but brings very heavy rains, rough seas and coastal flooding. It is most common in late autumn and winter along the central coast and in the Río de la Plata estuary. The Zonda, a hot dry wind, affects Cuyo and the central Pampas. Squeezed of all moisture during the 6,000 m (19,685 ft) descent from the Andes, Zonda winds can blow for hours with gusts up to 120 km/h (75 mph), fueling wildfires and causing damage; between June and November, when the Zonda blows, snowstorms and blizzard (viento blanco) conditions usually affect higher elevations.

              Biodiversity

              Main article: Environment of Argentina
              See also: List of Protected Areas of Argentina
              Argentina is a megadiverse country hosting one of the greatest ecosystem varieties in the world: 15 continental zones, 3 oceanic zones, and the Antarctic region are all represented in its territory. This huge ecosystem variety has led to a biological diversity that is among the world's largest:
              • 9,372 catalogued vascular plant species (ranked 24th)[I]
              • 1,038 catalogued bird species (ranked 14th)[J]
              • 375 catalogued mammal species (ranked 12th)[K]
              • 338 catalogued reptilian species (ranked 16th)
              • 162 catalogued amphibian species (ranked 19th)


              From this total, 529 species of vertebrates and at least 240 plants are threatened, mostly by conversion of natural land for agriculture and deforestation, but also by industrialization, urbanization and a growing number of alien invasive species.

              Argentina is also the 9th most biocapable country in the world. As of 2013[update] it has a protected area network consisting of 299 continental zones (6.3% of total mainland area), 21 Ramsar sites and 11 biosphere reserves, partially sampling most of its 24 terrestrial ecoregions.

              Government

              Main articles: Government of Argentina and Politics of Argentina
              Argentina is a federal constitutional republic and representative democracy. The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the Constitution of Argentina, the country's supreme legal document. The seat of government is the city of Buenos Aires, as designated by Congress. Suffrage is universal, equal, secret and mandatory.[L]

              The federal government is composed of three branches:
              • Legislative: The bicameral Congress, made up of the Senate and Deputy chambers, makes federal law, declares war, approves treaties and has the power of the purse and of impeachment, by which it can remove sitting members of the government.
                • The Chamber of Deputies represents the people and has 257 voting members elected to a four-year term. Seats are apportioned among the provinces by population every tenth year. As of 2013[update] ten provinces have just five deputies while the Buenos Aires Province, being the most populous one, has 70.
                • The Chamber of Senators represents the provinces, has 72 members elected at-large to six-year terms, with each province having three seats; one third of Senate seats are up for election every other year. At least one-third of the candidates presented by the parties must be women.
              • Executive: The president is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law—subject to Congressional override—and appoints the members of the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies. The president is elected directly by the vote of the people, serves a four-year term and may be elected to office no more than twice in a row.
              • Judicial: The Supreme Court and lower federal courts interpret laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional. The Judicial is independent of the Executive and the Legislative. The Supreme Court has seven members appointed by the President—subject to Senate approval—who serve for life. The lower courts' judges are proposed by the Council of Magistrates (a secretariat composed of representatives of judges, lawyers, researchers, the Executive and the Legislative), and appointed by the President on Senate approval.
              Neoclassical facade of the palace


              Congressional Palace, seat of the Congress
              Italianate–Eclectic facade of the house


              Casa Rosada, workplace of the President
              Neoclassical–Eclectic facade of the palace


              Palace of Justice, seat of the Supreme Court

              Political divisions

              Main article: Provinces of Argentina
              See also: List of Argentine provinces by population


              Provinces of Argentina. Click to explore.
              About this image
              Argentina is a federation of twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires. Provinces are divided for administration purposes into departments and municipalities, except for Buenos Aires Province, which is divided into partidos. The City of Buenos Aires is divided into communes.

              Provinces hold all the power that they chose not to delegate to the federal government; they must be representative republics and must not contradict the Constitution. Beyond this they are fully autonomous: they enact their own constitutions, freely organize their local governments, and own and manage their natural and financial resources. Some provinces have bicameral legislatures, while others have unicameral ones.[M]

              During the War of Independence the main cities and their surrounding countrysides became provinces though the intervention of their cabildos. The Anarchy of the Year XX completed this process, shaping the original thirteen provinces. Jujuy seceded from Salta in 1834, and the thirteen provinces became fourteen. After seceding for a decade, Buenos Aires accepted the 1853 Constitution of Argentina in 1861, and was made a federal territory in 1880.

              A 1862 law designated as national territories those under federal control but outside the frontiers of the provinces. In 1884 they served as bases for the establishment of the governorates of Misiones, Formosa, Chaco, La Pampa, Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego. The agreement about a frontier dispute with Chile in 1900 created the National Territory of Los Andes; its lands were incorporated into Jujuy, Salta and Catamarca in 1943. La Pampa and Chaco became provinces in 1951. Misiones did so in 1953, and Formosa, Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz, in 1955. The last national territory, Tierra del Fuego, became the Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province in 1990.

              Foreign relations

              Main article: Foreign relations of Argentina



              Argentine diplomatic missions
                Argentina
                Nations hosting a resident diplomatic mission
                Nations without a resident diplomatic mission
              Foreign policy is officially handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, which answers to the President.

              An historical and current middle power, Argentina bases its foreign policies on the guiding principles of non-intervention, human rights, self-determination, international cooperation, disarmament and peaceful settlement of conflicts. The country is one of the G-15 and G-20 major economies of the world, and a founding member of the UN, WBG, WTO and OAS. In 2012 Argentina was elected again to a two-year non-permanent position on the United Nations Security Council and is participating in major peacekeeping operations in Haiti, Cyprus, Western Sahara and the Middle East.

              As a prominent Latin American and Southern Cone regional power, Argentina co-founded OEI, CELAC and UNASUR, of which the former president Néstor Kirchner was first Secretary General. It is also a founding member of the Mercosur block, having Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela as partners. Since 2002 the country has emphasized its key role in Latin American integration, and the block—which has some supranational legislative functions—is its first international priority.

              Argentina claims 965,597 km2 (372,819 sq mi) in Antarctica, where it has the world's oldest continuous state presence, since 1904. This overlaps claims by Chile and the United Kingdom, though all such claims fall under the provisions of the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, of which Argentina is a founding signatory and permanent consulting member, with the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat being based in Buenos Aires.

              Argentina disputes sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which are administered by the United Kingdom as Overseas Territories.

              Armed Forces

              Main article: Armed Forces of Argentina



              Argentine Marines in formation during a UNITAS joint amphibious assault exercise in Peru.
              The president holds the title of commander-in-chief of the Argentine Armed Forces, as part of a legal framework that imposes a strict separation between national defence and internal security systems:
              • The National Defence System, an exclusive responsibility of the federal government, coordinated by the Ministry of Defense and comprising the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. Ruled and monitored by Congress through the Houses' Defence Committees, it is organized around the essential principle of legitimate self-defence: the repelling of any external military aggression in order to guarantee freedom of the people, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Its secondary missions include committing to multinational operations within the framework of the United Nations, participating in internal support missions, assisting friendly countries, and establishing a sub-regional defence system.



              Military service is voluntary, with enlistment age between 18 and 24 years old and no conscription. Argentina's defence has historically been one of the best equipped in the region, even managing its own weapon research facilities, shipyards, ordnance, tank and plane factories. However, real military expenditures declined steadily after 1981 and the defence budget in 2011 was about 0.74% of GDP, a historical minimum, below the Latin American average.

              • The Interior Security System, jointly administered by the federal and subscribing provincial governments. At the federal level it is coordinated by the Interior, Security and Justice ministries, and monitored by Congress. It is enforced by the Federal Police; the Prefecture, which fulfills coast guard duties; the Gendarmerie, which serves border guard tasks; and the Airport Security Police. At the provincial level it is coordinated by the respective internal security ministries and enforced by local police agencies.

              Economy

              Main articles: Economy of Argentina, Agriculture in Argentina and Argentine foreign trade
              Benefiting from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector and a diversified industrial base, the economy of Argentina is Latin America's third-largest. It has a "very high" rating on the Human Development Index and a relatively high GDP per capita, with a considerable internal market size and a growing share of the high-tech sector.

              A middle emerging economy and one of the world's top developing nations,[N] Argentina is a member of the G-20 major economies. Historically, however, its economic performance has been very uneven, with high economic growth alternating with severe recessions, income maldistribution and—in the recent decades—increasing poverty. Early in the 20th century Argentina achieved development, and became the world's seventh richest country. Although managing to keep a place among the top fifteen economies until mid-century, it suffered a long and steady decline and now it's just an upper middle-income country.

              High inflation—a weakness of the Argentine economy for decades—has become a trouble once again, with rates in 2013 between the official 10.2% and the privately estimated 25%, causing heated public debate over manipulated statistics. Income distribution, having improved since 2002, is classified as "medium", still considerably unequal.

              Argentina ranks 102nd out of 178 countries in the Transparency International's 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index.

              Industry




              President Fernández inaugurating a factory in Ushuaia. Firms like BlackBerry, HP and Motorola have set up plants in Tierra del Fuego, drawn by tax breaks.
              Manufacturing is the largest single sector in the nation's economy (19% of GDP), and is well-integrated into Argentine agriculture, with half the nation's industrial exports being agricultural in nature. Based on food processing and textiles during its early development in the first half of the 20th century, industrial production has become highly diversified in Argentina. Leading sectors by production value are: Food processing and beverages; motor vehicles and auto parts; refinery products, and biodiesel; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; steel and aluminum; and industrial and farm machinery; electronics and home appliances. These latter include over three million big ticket items, as well as an array of electronics, kitchen appliances and cellular phones, among others. The country's auto industry produced 829,000 motor vehicles in 2011, and exported 507,000 (mainly to Brazil, which in turn exported a somewhat larger number to Argentina). Beverages are another significant sector, and Argentina has long been among the top five wine producing countries in the world; beer overtook wine production in 2000, and today leads by nearly two billion liters a year to one.

              Other manufactured goods include: glass and cement; plastics and tires; lumber products; textiles; tobacco products; recording and print media; furniture; apparel and leather. Most manufacturing is organized around 280 industrial parks, with another 190 slated to open during 2012. Nearly half the industries are based in the Greater Buenos Aires area, although Córdoba, Rosario, and Ushuaia are also significant industrial centers; the latter city became the nation's leading center of electronics production during the 1980s. The production of computers, laptops, and servers grew by 160% in 2011, to nearly 3.4 million units, and covered two-thirds of local demand. Another important rubric historically dominated by imports – farm machinery – will likewise mainly be manufactured domestically by 2014.

              Construction permits nationwide covered nearly 19 million m² (205 million ft²) in 2008. The construction sector accounts for over 5% of GDP, and two-thirds of the construction was for residential buildings.

              Argentine electric output totaled over 122 billion Kwh in 2009. This was generated in large part through well developed natural gas and hydroelectric resources. Nuclear energy is also of high importance, and the country is one of the largest producers and exporters, alongside Canada and Russia of cobalt-60, a radioactive isotope widely used in cancer therapy.

              Transport

              Main article: Transport in Argentina



              Vintage Line A station entrance of Buenos Aires Metro. The city was the first in Latin America and in the Southern Hemisphere to develop a subway network.
              Argentina has the largest railway system in Latin America, with 36,966 km (22,970 mi) of operating lines out of a full network of almost 48,000 km (30,000 mi). This system links all 23 provinces plus Buenos Aires City, and connects with all neighboring countries. There are four incompatible gauges in use; this forces virtually all interregional freight traffic to pass through Buenos Aires. The system has been in decline since the 1940s: regularly running up large budgetary deficits, by 1991 it was transporting 1400 times less merchandise than it did in 1973.

              Buenos Aires, all provincial capitals except Ushuaia, and all medium-sized towns are interconnected by 69,412 km (43,131 mi) of paved roads, out of a total road network of 230,604 km (143,291 mi). Most important cities are linked by a growing number of expressways, including Buenos Aires–La Plata, Rosario–Córdoba, Córdoba–Villa Carlos Paz, Villa Mercedes–Mendoza, National Route 14 General José Gervasio Artigas and Provincial Route 2 Juan Manuel Fangio, among others. Nevertheless this road infrastructure is still inadequate and cannot handle the sharply growing demand caused by deterioration of the railway system.

              There are about 11,000 km (6,800 mi) of waterways, mostly comprising the La Plata, Paraná, Paraguay and Uruguay rivers, with Buenos Aires, Zárate, Campana, Rosario, San Lorenzo, Santa Fe, Barranqueras and San Nicolas de los Arroyos as the main fluvial ports. Some of the largest sea ports are La Plata–Ensenada, Bahía Blanca, Mar del Plata, Quequén–Necochea, Comodoro Rivadavia, Puerto Deseado, Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia and San Antonio Oeste. Buenos Aires has historically been the most important port; however since the 1990s the Up-River port region has become dominant: stretching along 67 km (42 mi) of the Paraná river shore in Santa Fe province, it includes 17 ports and in 2013[update] accounted for 50% of all exports.

              As of 2013[update] there are 159 airports with paved runways out of more than a thousand. The Ezeiza International Airport, about 35 km (22 mi) from downtown Buenos Aires, is the largest in the country, followed by Cataratas del Iguazú in Misiones, and El Plumerillo in Mendoza. Aeroparque, in the city of Buenos Aires, is the most important domestic airport.

              Media and communications

              Main article: Communications in Argentina
              Print media industry is highly developed in Argentina, with more than two hundred newspapers. The major national ones include the centrist Clarín, the best-seller in Latin America and the second most widely circulated in the Spanish-speaking world; La Nación (center-right, published since 1870), Página/12 (left-wing, founded in 1987), the Buenos Aires Herald (Latin America's most prestigious English language daily, dating back to 1876) and La Voz del Interior (center, founded in 1904)

              Argentina began the world's first regular radio broadcasting on 27 August 1920, when Richard Wagner's Parsifal was aired by a team of medical students led by Enrique Telémaco Susini in Buenos Aires' Teatro Coliseo. By 2002[update] there were 260 AM and 1150 FM registered radio stations in the country.

              The Argentine television industry is large, diverse and popular across Latin America, with many productions and TV formats having been exported outside. Since 1999 Argentines enjoy the highest availability of cable and satellite television in Latin America, as of 2014[update] totaling 87.4% of the country's households, a rate similar to those in the United States, Canada and Europe.

              As of 2011[update] Argentina has also the highest coverage of networked telecommunications among Latin American powers: about 67% of its population has internet access and 137.2%, mobile phone subscriptions.

              Science and technology

              Main article: Science and technology in Argentina



              Argentine satellite SAC-D
              Argentines have three Nobel Prize laureates in the Sciences. Bernardo Houssay, the first Latin American among them, discovered the role of pituitary hormones in regulating glucose in animals. César Milstein did extensive research in antibodies. Luis Leloir discovered how organisms store energy converting glucose into glycogen and the compounds which are fundamental in metabolizing carbohydrates. Argentine research has led to the treatment of heart diseases and several forms of cancer. Domingo Liotta designed and developed the first artificial heart successfully implanted in a human being in 1969. René Favaloro developed the techniques and performed the world's first ever coronary bypass surgery.

              Argentina's nuclear programme has been highly successful. In 1957 Argentina was the first country in Latin America to design and build a research reactor with homegrown technology, the RA-1 Enrico Fermi. This reliance in the development of own nuclear related technologies, instead of simply buying them abroad, was a constant of Argentina's nuclear programme conducted by the civilian National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA). Nuclear facilities with Argentine technology have been built in Peru, Algeria, Australia and Egypt. In 1983, the country admitted having the capability of producing weapon-grade uranium, a major step needed to assemble nuclear weapons; since then, however, Argentina has pledged to use nuclear power only for peaceful purposes. As a member of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Argentina has been a strong voice in support of nuclear non-proliferation efforts and is highly committed to global nuclear security. In 1974 it was the first country in Latin America to put in-line a commercial nuclear power plant, Atucha I. Although the Argentine built parts for that station amounted to 10% of the total, the nuclear fuel it uses are since entirely built in the country. Later nuclear power stations employed a higher percentage of Argentine built components; Embalse, finished in 1983, a 30% and the 2011 Atucha II reactor a 40%.

              Despite its modest budget and numerous setbacks, academics and the sciences in Argentina have enjoyed an international respect since the turn of the 1900s, when Dr. Luis Agote devised the first safe and effective means of blood transfusion as well as René Favaloro, who was a pioneer in the improvement of the coronary artery bypass surgery. Argentine scientists are still on the cutting edge in fields such as nanotechnology, physics, computer sciences, molecular biology, oncology, ecology, and cardiology. Juan Maldacena, an Argentine-American scientist, is a leading figure in string theory. Argentine built satellites include LUSAT-1 (1990), Víctor-1 (1996), PEHUENSAT-1 (2007), and those developed by CONAE, the Argentine space agency, of the SAC series. The Pierre Auger Observatory near Malargüe, Mendoza, is the world's foremost cosmic ray observatory.

              Space research has also become increasingly active in Argentina. Argentina has its own satellite programme, nuclear power station designs (4th generation) and public nuclear energy company INVAP, which provides several countries with nuclear reactors. Established in 1991, the
              Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentina )
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